Birds of a Feather: Cardinals Embracing Unique Role

Arizona Sports News online

Nothing has been given to the Arizona Cardinals this season.

Little has come easy.

Bruce Arians and the “Cardiac Cards” wouldn’t want it any other way.

They’re an NFL-best 5-0 in games decided by eight points or less and have outscored opponents 102-43 in the fourth quarter. Still, the doubters continue to doubt and even the wise guys in Vegas don’t believe Arizona has much of a chance Sunday listing the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks (10-4) as eight-point road favorites in Glendale.

Even with backup-to-the-backup quarterback Ryan Lindley under center nothing seems to faze Arians or his 11-3 Cardinals who wrapped a spot in the playoffs after Dallas defeated Philadelphia last weekend.

“We’ve been written off all year, ya’ know,” Arians said Monday. “Write another check…you never have to check your bank account. Just keep writing checks. We like where we’re at and we like the guys who are playing for us.”

One insider believes Arians will continue to play the hand they’ve been dealt when it comes to the skeptics who have waited nearly four months for this team to slip into NFL obscurity.

“You can be sure the players will hear about [the big spread] and other slights from Bruce Arians and [Defensive Coordinator] Todd Bowles,”’s Peter King explained to’s Brad Cesmat during his weekly interview. “An awful lot of people are going to be reminding them that America is totally dissing them.”

Whatever their head coach has sold the team has bought and bought in bulk during this highly successful, but injury-marred 2014.

“They really believe in Bruce Arians,” King told Cesmat. “And they really believe in the messages that he is going to give them. I think you can’t underestimate how he leads them.” 

Veterans Larry Fitzgerald, Calais Campbell and Lyle Sendlein still vividly remember King’s NBC co-worker Cris Collinsworth calling the 2008 Cardinals the “worst playoff team” ever. Those comments and others helped jump-start one of the most improbable Super Bowl runs in NFL history.

“I don’t think anybody is going to say that about us,” Campbell said. “Everybody thinks we deserve to be [in the playoffs]. We worked hard. We earned it. This team we’ve billed as ‘next man up.’ It’s a philosophy we live by.” 

Many are viewing Sunday’s showdown as an NFC West championship game.

Arizona wraps up the regular season against embattled Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers on December 28th.